And here we are! My very first review. Collar x Malice is the very first otome game I had played. I’m really excited to review it!
Collar X Malice is an otome game on Nintendo Switch. It was originaly released on Playstation Vita, in 2016. It was then realeased on Switch, worldwide 2020. Of course, Japan got it earlier.
It was developped by Idea Factory, and published by them in Japan, whereas worldwide Aksys Games was the publisher.
It is rated M for mature, so do be careful. This game has all kinds of violence, gore, blood, and death. If you’re uncomfortable with these, please do not play this game.
At the moment of writing this article, the price is £35.99 /39,99 €/ $39.99. (Click on the prices to go to the Nintendo page) You can always find it cheaper on Amazon and ebay.
Synopsis and common route
The game is based in modern Japan, Shinjuku. You play as Ichika Hoshino, 21 years old and a police officer. She answers calls from concerned citizens and goes out on patrols.
Shinjuku is, however, a special place. Terrorist attacks and murders orchastrated by the terrorist group Adonis, led to a law which allows people to have their own gun, delivered by police and registered to avoid anyone going rogue and not being able to track them down. The area in also in quarantine, hard to get in, hard to escape. It’s a very special and unique setting.
Now, the common route revolves of course around her, but what happens?
She gets herself in trouble she definitely did not ask for. She ends up with a collar which listens to everything, could kill her at anytime and it cannot be removed. This is when you meet everyone.
Characters (spoilers, maybe)
This character is not voiced.
Ichika is all about cooking. No seriously, food is usually important in otome games, but for her, it’s really next level. She cooks day and night, it felt like, to me. I’m not a great cook so I really could not identify with that part of her.
She is determined, and she isn’t that plain compared to your typical otome game main character. She is strong willed, I believe and she is not useless as she can use her gun. As a player you are the one that has to click at the right timing to make her shoot when she is supposed to, however. And yes, it impacts the story.
I loved the fact that she does not hesitate to stand up for others and find her way to help them. Well, sometimes it’s really dumb but it’s not frustrating at all.
Voice actor: Daisuke Namikawa (Hisoka – Hxh | Jellal – Fairy Tail | Toru Oikawa – Haikyuu)
Sasazuka was my favorite. Though at first his design was a bit too childish for me, his personnality and ESPECIALLY the voice actor carried Sasazuka right to my heart.
Age: 24 years old.
His personality is very special. He is not nice, and he is very selfish, but the more you know him, the more you realise that being mean is his way to show love *sometimes*. To be quite honest, if bullying was a sport, he’d be the champion.
He is the smartest concerning computers and he is what I’d call a typical gamer, even if he doesn’t really game. Doesn’t care about his diet, fueled by donuts, and a chaotic sleep schedule.
One important thing about him, he absolutely hates guns and it’s because he is *traumatised* by them. His past is what makes him who he is today.
He definitely is a tsundere, I have no other word to describe him. If you didn’t know what “stupid” is in Japanese, after his route, trust me, you’ll know.
In his routes, I found myself dying because I scolded my little brother the night before. Yep. It made absolutely no sense what so ever to die because of that one choice. It was frustrating. In this game you have A LOT of random deaths and Sasazuka has quite a few. But his good ending was really cute, for the most part.
The development of the relationship was kinda weird though, because you think he doesn’t even like you and then *bam* kiss. I was just so confused. I guess it’s part of his personnality but honestly it was a little bit too fast to me.
The shy boi
Age: 23 years old.
He is my age, yet he acts like he was 15. It was very annoying to have a love interest who, whenever he touches you, get all “WOOAHHH SORRY”. At first, at least. It got really boring for me.
He is full of energy and smiles all the time, but what I liked about him is that he wasn’t just that. He really has deep emotions and trauma that he has to deal with and I find it interesting. More than when he acts like touching a girl is the end of the world, for sure. He is also very nice, helpful, but very naive. Oh and his eyepatch is not just to look cool, it has a nice reason behind it and I found it quite refreshing.
In his route, there is a BIG plot reveal. If you pay attention closely you’ll get it quite easily. I was quite surprise to have that kind of sneaky reveal, simply because Enomoto doesn’t not feel like mysteries and such. That’s it, that’s the reason. His good ending could be define by “Awh it’s cute” but that’s it. To me there wasn’t much to enjoy. The CGs was, once again, cute. Though it has a nice plot, the relation is once again weird, but not the same as Sasasuka. It’s just because he is so awkward with girls.
We do learn about an heavy past and resolve the trauma around it, that was quite the journey and we learn to care about him deeply. He had to face several complicated situation, as he is naive and falls into traps easily.
Voice actor: Yūki Kaji (Eren Jaeger – Attack On Titans | Meliodas – The Seven Deadly sins | Todoroki – My Hero Academia | Kanato Sakamaki – Diabolik Lovers | Ayato Kirishima – Tokyo Ghoul)
I was really surprised to see his voice actor. I did spend half of his route wondering where I heard his voice..
Age: 26 years old
Kei is… As clueless as he is special. He was my very first route. And what a ride… He was frustrating to deal with, yet addictive. It was really hard to crack what he was thinking. I say hard, but actually I still don’t understand him.
He is very smart, and talented. He is like a body guard for VIPs, well was, so his fighting skills are quite the thing. With him, we feel super safe, until you don’t because he is .. wild.
He is calm and secretive, which was very annoying at time, because of course he lies.
One other thing, his love for weird flavored snacks was quite something, and it added to his special personnality.
His routes were really interesting to go through. But one thing is that I had no clue I was on the good ending path until the very end. It was PURE CHAOS from start to finish.
Our relationship with him is very special, and at first I just did not understand what was going on. The development is really on point though, might be one of the best. Loads of drama, loads of sadness. Happiness? Ahaha just wait for the end maybe you’ll get some. MAYBE.
His past and struggles are captivating and I really did not see the time pass. Though it was SO VERY STRESSFUL.
Cat lovers are scary
Voice actor: Ryohei Kimura ( Kotaro Bokuto – Haikyuu | Kou Mukami – Diabolik lovers | David Shield – My Hero Academia)
Age: 29 years old.
This is the most interesting character in this game. He is so very unique. You can never tell what goes through his mind. He does things because it’s interesting to him, or just because he wants to. He is honestly awesome. Of course, a massive bully but his reasons, unlike Sasazuka, is not just being mean to show affection, he just feels like it.
He loves studying people and their reaction, and of course, ours too.
His cat addiction is next level, like really next level. It’s quite scary, but it’s also cute when you see him with them.
He definetetly gets the worse of it all. Good ending is not even good.. He is just massively doomed. When I read about his ending after playing it, I saw people said he was getting “the short stick“, and I defenitely agree.
It’s so unfair he doesn’t even get a chance for redemption. Well it’s fair because he did horrible things. But not fair for us.
When I finished his good route, I was wondering if it actually was the good ending. It was so.. sad. Big confusion.
Our relationship and the developement makes perfect sense, and I love it. I don’t want to say too much. Just, prepare to cry and enjoy.
The old man
Voice actor: Masakazu Morita ( Ichigo Kurosaki – Bleach | Pegasus Seiya – Saint seiya)
Note: You cannot unlock Yanagi’s route before getting all the other’s good endings.
Age: 28 years old.
Yanagi is defenitely the dad of the group. He is the one that put the team together and takes care of everything. He gives off dad’s vibes too. He is a big smoker, which is dislike A LOT. I just imagine he smells horrible, I know, weird.
He is pretty plain in my opinion. He is the last route yet his personnality was really boring. They wanted to insist on the “He is older, like way older in his behavior and you gotta feel it”, and well, we did. He is really nice and helpful, he can get mad sometimes but you really gotta push. He is also *traumatised* by his past, like half of the cast.
He is basically mister perfect, but everything around him is quite complicated. Like, nothing can be simple, imagine getting happiness for yourself… Nah, couldn’t be him. Sometimes it felt like he would complicate stuff, overthink it and wont talk about it until Hoshino brings it up. It was a little frustrating.
His route was the last, and is super comforting in the way that all the issues you know about the other characters get resolved. It’s like the true route. You fix everyone’s problem and that’s great. You also get to know why Hoshino has a collar on her. The reveal was so sad to me, as I loved the characters involved.
It was wild, but feeling safe (ish) with Yanagi. It did not give me as much anxiety as Okazaki. He truly is the savior of the world.
We also get to know a bit about his family, which is complicated because he made it this way. Literally his fault, in my opinion.
For the relationship, the development was pretty basic. It wasnt exceptional but it wasn’t bad at all, it was overall enjoyable.
I will not mention them all, but here are those who hit different to me. There is A LOT of side characters, that’s why I decided to only do some.
Broke my heart
Voice: Yuuki Ono ( Josuke Higashikata – Jojo’s bizzare Adventures)
Saeki broke my heart like 3 times. At first, I was wondering why he wasn’t a love interest, because he was so great. Then, I finished Enomoto’s route and started to see. Well, he broke my heart in that route because he went straight to the hospital. And then he broke my heart because of that big spoiler I shall not post. He is such a well written character, and there is so much to him. I cannot hate him. yet I do? It’s such a weird thing with him.
Crazy but actually not but actually yes
Voice: Naoko Komatsu (None that’s very famous)
Mukai was a great friend to have. The other one on the CG is a great side character but no as memorable as Mukai. She really has a big personality and she is strongly opinionated, especially on Shiraishi, with whom she works with. She was so refreshing in all the big dramas. She really did care though and wanted us happy. CRY
Voice: Takuya Eguchi ( Sonosuke Izayoi – Danganronpa | Yūji Terushima – Haikyuu)
He is Ichika’s little brother. He is very angry and that’s very annoying however I think that’s pretty much how teens are at his age. He can be kind and shows how worried he is by… you guessed it, being angry! Overall a great character as he turns out to be sweet later on.
Protect at all cost
Voice: Natsuki Hanae (Demon slayer – Tanjirou Kamado | Tokyo Revengers – Hajime Kokonoi | The case study of Vanitas – Vanitas | Attack on titan – Falco Grice)
I had no clue his voice was so famous. Learned it as I was writting!
Akito Sera is unforgettable, he has such a sad upbrigging and how he is connected with the story breaks my heard. A nice kid who got consumed by revenge.
Special Gameplay Features
This game has several different gameplay features.
- The shooting gameplay.
When Hoshino needs to shoot her gun, you will have to press at the right timing when the “Mini game” arrived. It’s really quick and it’s easy to understand how to use it.
- The Elevator mechanic.
When you need to go somewhere, at the police station, you can go different places on different order, but beware, you cannot go wherever you want.
- The Searching for clue mechanic.
This feature appear when you’re looking for clues in a room. You’ll need to click on different spots and sometimes several time to get them. You won’t be able to leave until you have them all.
Overall thoughts and rating
Overall, it’s a great game. It’s in the top tier of otomes, and it’s a good game to start playing this genre. However, I will say, my expectation for the rest of the otome games is way too high now. I still think it’s worth some praise. The story is amazing, the characters are well designed, and even if I don’t like some, it’s because their personality is not compatible with mine. I don’t hate them because they are bad! And that’s a huge thing for games like that to be able to create characters that aren’t bland. (Beside Yanagi, I guess).
The side characters are also such a big part of each story, and they are well written aswell, and they are sooo many, you’d think some would be pretty basic, but no. All of them are unique.
The mechanics are fun, though I got annoyed at the “searching for clue” mechanic because it was VERY long.
I also think the game is not forgiving on random choices, which makes it a bit confusing at time. I would recommend having a guide ready just in case you make a bad choice that didn’t look like a big deal but in fact was.
The art is very pretty, I loved looking at them after I was done with a route. Ichika is one of the prettiest MC out there and her design is really cool!
I would defenitely recommend it!
It’s a 8/10 for me!